Bae Challenge: The Rogue Diaries of Miles & Lindsay


In-person interview

Thirty Day Bae: So how did you find out about [Thirty Day Bae]?

Miles: It was a Facebook post that Jordan put up. It resonated with me because two or three years ago I remember joking around with a friend, saying you know what would be fun, just like six weeks [of us dating], just to see what happens. And the response was, “Well why don’t you just ask me out if you're really interested?” Well, because it might go somewhere. And six weeks is long enough to get into conflict but also short enough that you don't lose out on other opportunities if you're really after them. So anyway, I had that thought within me for at least a year or so. Then I saw that this was gaining traction and I said, “This looks fun.”

Thirty Day Bae: How did you bring it up to your bae?

Miles: We had been spending some time together, and I enjoyed being around her and just wanted to see what was there. So I kind of just brought it up and said, “Hey you remember hearing about that Thirty Day Bae challenge that people have been talking about?” She was like, “Yeah.” I was like, “Well what if we set our own terms and just tried it out?” I was like, “Think about it and then let’s chat later.”

Thirty Day Bae: Tell us about the actual meat of the 30 days. How was it? What were your rules?

Miles: So there were basically two terms that I brought to the table. And I asked her if she wanted to add any other ones. The two that made sense to me were to see each other everyday or call on the phone -- just intentionally being around each other. And then we don't make any plans past the 30 days. We don't really talk about that until the end is here. So those two were important to me. Just so that everything was intentional, and I didn't get lazy, and I stayed focused. Another personal goal for me was that I hopped off Instagram for the month surrounding it. It's so easy to be distracted by online flirting and other options that pop up. I think if we all are honest with ourselves, we know who we're hoping sees our post online. I didn't want to be playing that game. (He also took notes every day.)

Thirty Day Bae: What were other people’s reaction to you doing this?

Miles: A lot of people were like, well that's kind of weird. I guess the response that I came up with was, “You know the majority of single people want to be in relationships. What's weird is most people aren't being intentional about it.” I think this is a really great way to be intentional about it.

Thirty Day Bae: So how did it progress over the 30 days?

Miles: So for me the reason that I brought it up with my “bae,” who will remain anonymous, is that I really enjoyed spending time with her. And generally when I get attached to someone it's because I'm anxious -- I’m an anxious attachment type -- and I didn't see what's happening with her. I could tell that there was a really good friend potential between us, but I was curious what romantic connection and what sexual energy might be between us. In my mind there are three ways to connect with people: true friendship, romantic interest, and sexual energy. I could already sense that she knows how to be a good friend. I wanted to explore if there was a romantic interest and this was what type of sexual energy might be there. And so starting off it was a lot to just focus on like hey I really enjoy spending time with you and just going from there. Not really worried about physical things or anything like that.

It was a lot of just wanting to get to know who she was. And one of the things I really appreciate about this process was that we got to know the real person behind who she is, meaning that if I made a mistake on a day, I was going to see her the next day and it would get smoothed over. And neither of us had to fight to put our best face forward to win our second date or that third day or that fourth date. I think when you get that really quick attachment to people it's because you have already created who you think they are and now you hope to prove that right. And then when you find out they aren't the person who you wanted them to be that's when the confusion sets in -- fantasy and reality don't meet --  and it causes for confusion and heartache.

And so we really just got a good foot forward learning who each other were without much building fantasy around each other. The entire mindset was just a slowdown. Now you're just being a lot more intentional.

Thirty Day Bae: When you say “intentional,” what do you mean by that?

Miles: Intentional in my mind means “focused.” Really figuring out what shows up between the two of you by mitigating distractions like meeting other people and we all have work, but not letting that be an excuse to say, I don't want to see you today. And working through those internal conversations like, “Yeah, it would be easier not to see this person,” or “Yeah, I don't really feel like it.”

Thirty Day Bae: What were the challenges in these thirty days for you two?  

Miles: There were two days that were harder for me. When I was traveling for work and I'd been at a conference but at the end of the day, I knew that we had to talk on the phone. And she was making it very easy. I had to write a report and I just was like, “Yeah, let’s chat. I got to finish this report but like let's just chat for a few minutes.” I remember that day being like, “OK this is kind of hard.” There was another day where I had been at a friend's wedding all night and the wedding party kept evolving in certain ways. And she was at a friend's party as well. So it was like 11:30pm before we met up. That easily could have been like, “OK well I'll just see you tomorrow. We just didn't work out today.” But I think those moments are more important to the relationship than the long good days. It's the days that are hard that you have to focus on making time for each other. And thirty days was long enough for both of us to experience some sort of conflict about each other, which was interesting. It always shows up in ways you don't expect. For me it was an activity that we had planned with some friends and I've got a friend who is characteristically and delightfully unreliable. He had made like promises that he was going to come and join the fun. But then when the day came he found a way to avoid it and not join our event. And I take flakiness as personal. So in explaining the situation to her she had sympathy for him. I was like, “Why? This is unacceptable behavior.” And she said, “Well, I do that. I've done that before with friends.” I remember making lots of assumptions after that, saying “I can't be with someone who does this. I could never never be with someone long term who acts like my friend.” And I remember waking up the next morning I was like, “OK well it was a good go, but if she’s got any of those same characteristics it's going to be over pretty quickly.” And I had to sit back and remind myself that based on what she's shown me over the last three weeks, she's never done that to me. I had to remind myself, “Focus on what shows up between you two.” It was a good lesson for me to remember that she was not exemplifying my friend's behavior. I'm glad I learned it.

Thirty Day Bae: Have you talked with her since?

Miles: So we did 30 days and then we took a week off. Then we met up just to chat. It was kind of hard to navigate this conversation because I think we were both a little hesitant to acknowledge that we were hoping that we were going to miss each other a little bit more. But I don't think that showed up as much for either of us.

But in having that experience it also made me wonder, are we trained to seek after that feeling of anxiety and missing someone? And is that the only gauge for us to feel like we can proceed in a relationship? And I think for me it's been the gauge, but in my future I don't necessarily want that to be a gauge. But I understand there's a gap of learning between where I am and where I want to be. I want to work towards closing that gap.

We didn't actually conclude the conversation on Monday so we met up again on Tuesday where the three options were: continue seeing each other exclusively (and maybe rewrite some terms because I thought it was so easy just to live through 30 days when we both knew that we were seeing each other); see each other and start seeing other people; or let that be the experience and continue to get to know other people. Ultimately I said I was ready to explore other options. Which it was hard to be honest with myself and it is hard to be honest with her. But I figured if I'm going to earn her trust in the future and if it comes a point where I'm fully aware of what we had together and want to revisit it that we can pick up on honest terms. So that's where it was left.

Thirty Day Bae: Do you feel like this grew beyond just friendship to something romantic?

Miles: What's interesting is the the friendship was so good. She knows how to be a very good friend. In that relationship I always felt confident. I always felt understood. I felt like a priority. And that's where like I want that gap to close. I want those things to be the most important to me. Like, yup let's start this long term relationship. What was interesting for me is we had gone about three weeks before kissing each other. For me I was hesitant to start kissing her because I didn't want her to feel like that was all that was in it for.

But after talking with some friends and even remembering something the grandma told me... basically, how do you know that the sparks going to be until you try it out?

Thirty Day Bae: And was there chemistry there?

Miles: It was a good kiss. She’s a good kisser.

Thirty Day Bae: So there was a spark overall?

We kissed. It was slow. Everything was very sweet about it. And was the spark there? I don't think I've ever really felt that spark except for maybe my first kiss and that was because I was 14 and every touch meant a thousand times what it should have been.

Thirty Day Bae: The reason why we really started looking into doing this experiment was because we wanted to learn about commitment and chemistry and compatibility. What were your takeaways about those?

Miles: For me, I can remember it was day 28, one of the last days we were we were together and we were just playing ping pong. And I just remember looking over across the table and just thinking, “There is this sort of attraction that I have to you that’s just very pure and sweet, and I just enjoy looking at you right now.” And it's not something that I can recall feeling with other people. Because in this case there's been this whole history of 28 days of investing in each other. And so I remember thinking that “This is a new feeling, and if this showed up every day for the rest of my life I think that would be a wonderful experience.” So the question is why didn’t you invest more in that feeling to see if that showed up? I remember talking to my mom and she's like’ “Well it sounds like that's your next experiment to see how often that feeling shows up.” So that showed up, but I guess it wasn't enough for me to just say. “OK I'm all in now.”

Thirty Day Bae: If you had to label that feeling, what you call it?

Miles: I would consider it maybe a hint of mature love. Like maybe what people who've been in relationships for 40 or 50 years, who have worked through lots of conflicts, can then look at their partner and say, “Yeah the love I feel today dwarfs everything about the first 10 years of marriage.” I've heard that before. I think it's an exciting thought. And so I think in a small way I might have felt that.

Thirty Day Bae: So you’re going to pursue other relationships for now. Do you think this experiment will change the way your approach dating going forward?

Miles: Yeah. I do. I mean it's a bit crazy, but in reality the whole marriage is crazy. And I think I've just gotten lazy about what dating should be. And I think as a culture when I'm speaking about culture like, a group of 25 to 35 year old single people, it’s pretty sloppy. It’s like, “Oh, who interested you the most at this party?” Or “Who had the most interesting Instagram post?” That's who's going to get my attention. But I think what these terms really set up isn't for people that don't know each other. I think it's really something for people have been friends for a while or have known each other for a while and have had a small bit of interest, but don't want to ruin the friendship. I think this type of dating structure could really help because it's clean, it's not messy. It really gives you a chance to explore. You get to know someone on different levels. And you just you see what shows up. And there might be a few weeks or so where one party is more interested in the other. But because you learn how to communicate with each other on different levels it cleans itself up better than just that hard breakup after like 3 confusing weeks.

Thirty Day Bae: Would you do this 30 day dating experiment again with somebody else in the future?

Miles: Yeah. And going back to like, this experiment is a crazy idea... if someone's not interested in trying crazy ideas with me then how are they going to be in a marriage relationship. Or like, hey let's have a crazy idea like let's have kids. If someone's not interested enough in me to try something like this out then that's not the person I'm interested in. I remember telling someone about it and they were like, there's a component of organic spontaneity that you're just missing out on. And I'm like, I don't know the spontaneity is there. Like, oh we made plans for 5 but decide to meet up at 6. That's pretty spontaneous. Haha. I don't know because we had to.

Thirty Day Bae: What would you say to somebody who's somewhat interested in doing this 30 day dating experiment but has some fears about it?

Miles: 100 percent. Try it out. Because you don't know what you don't know. Whether is this dating method or that person that you're kind of interested in. I think some people just wanted to be like introduced to the love of their life without a choice. And then have a splendid 30 day dating experience. It actually reminds me of this -- this is going to sound stupid -- but I went to this improv contact dance class. Basically you kind of move your body around without music and you are supposed to like bump up against other people to see what “energies” are between you as you dance. So imagine 12 people on kind of a cloudy day in a soccer field without without music awkwardly bumping against each other. That's what we did for an hour. There were six men and six women. And in this experience there was two fairly attractive young women. And I remember closing my eyes and hoping that I'd bump into these cute girls. But while I was closing my eyes and zombying around I bumped into this 55 year old man that was just free with his spirit. And then I'd realize, these aren’t the cute girls, where do I go for those cute girls? And what I learned in that experience is if I wanted to dance with those girls I shouldn’t have closed my eyes. I should have just figured out a way to go dance with them.

I think in dating and career opportunities, looking at my life, I just kind of closed my eyes and stumbled forward and hoped that when I open them I'd be in the perfect situation. And so relating that to this, I imagine people are just closing their eyes and blindly like throwing themselves forward and hoping that they get matched up with the most beautiful person instead of being intentional and keeping their eyes open and saying, “Hey, I've been friends with you for a while. I think you’re actually kind of cute. Let's just see what happens. Give it 30 days.” It’s an interesting lesson to learn from dancing in a soccer field.

Thirty Day Bae: Any cons to doing this?

Miles: There was like a handful that I thought of, but I quickly answered resolved. One is that you lose a relationship with a friend. That is a con. But I also think at this stage in life we tend to maybe make too many exceptions for friends of the opposite gender. Meaning if we have just 10 cups, and 10 cups might represent people that were either interested in or are friends with, and we keep just pouring a little bit of water into each cup. Well on a day that you are thirsty you need a full drink, and you only get to choose from one cup, you're not going to satisfy your thirst. And so I think you lose out on friends. But a part of me was like, “Yeah, it's time to start losing friends.” But then I know I don't share this opinion with everyone: I don't think long term in your life that you're going to be maintaining lifelong relationships were friendships with people of the opposite gender. Because it's hard to justify that.  

So the other con is that people talk and you don't always get to control your narrative. Well at the end of this 30 days you're not getting out of a long term relationship where you've forgotten how to be social, so you have to feel like you're awkward around people too. Now you're branded as someone who is intentional and is wanting to find a relationship that works. And I don't think that's a terrible brand to have. Those were the cons that I saw, but I was able to solve them in my mind.

Thirty Day Bae: Anything else?

Miles: One thing that I am still intrigued by -- maybe this is just me confessing or being puzzled by why -- I wanted to continue checking out more options. I think we're looking for compulsory relationships where we are not only attracted to someone but it feels compulsory to think about them and obsessing about them and making them our everything. And what role does connection and attraction play in real relationships versus the ones that we get caught up in, where we've built the idea around someone when that's not who they actually are.


Written responses interview

Thirty Day Bae: Help us get to know you. What do you do? What's dating been like? What's your perspective on the dating scene in Utah?

Lindsay: I’m Lindsay. I’m from Salt Lake. I work as a receptionist lady. I laugh and live. Dating for me comes in waves and ends with a lot of fades. It's very fun and stupid. I don’t know what the heck is happening with dating in Utah. It seems like there are few ways of meeting people. You can meet people at church, but after a while you know everyone and realize you’re an alien. You can go to parties but you talk with people you already know and you already aren’t dating them. You can use an app and chat and go out and maybe something happens but turns out the scenery of their photo was what made them seem so handsome. Maybe you work with awesome peeps but what do you do about that? So it seems like there is a lot of hard core hanging and being introduced to people through other people and not a lot of dating. It seems like there are many rockstar girls and a few rockstar dudes so its just a tricky thing for both parties. There’s a lot of non-commitment going on. There’s a lot of grass is greener going on.

Thirty Day Bae: How did you first hear about Thirty Day Bae?

Lindsay: My roommate heard about it through a friend and shared it with the rest of us roommates.

Thirty Day Bae: How did your bae bring it up to you? What were your initial thoughts? How did you decide to do it?

Lindsay: I was driving doobie brotha home after we met Dante Exum and he asked if I had thought about doing the Thirty Day Bae thing. I laughed and said no. He told me he had a proposal for me that we try the dating experiment. He explained some of the terms he had come up with and why he wanted to do it. I felt fine agreeing to it because I was interested in getting to know this dude more, and I wanted to see if I could overcome some of my weird dating things. I felt worried because there was a potential killing at the end of the experiment, and I felt scared to open up to somebody in a deep, raw way and them not liking what they discover. I figured this would be beneficial no matter the outcome. I had enjoyed spending time with the dude up until that point, so why not?

Thirty Day Bae: Tell us about the actual 30 days. What was it like? What were your rules?

Lindsay: Our terms were seeing each other or talking on the phone every day, not planning anything after the 30 days, and not having contact with other potential people so we can focus on each other. He decided not to use Instagram. I decided to live as is.

The 30 days was very interesting. There were ups and downs like with everything, but mainly it was just a good time. We had a lot of fun together. We laughed a lot. I felt pretty secure during the 30 days. It felt good not having that beginning dating stress over frequency of contact and all that crippy crap. It was also nice not feeling pressure to decide our future after every encounter. It felt very present and easy and real. Everything felt reciprocated because supposedly we were on the same page. We had a lot of good conversations. I was looking at this dude as a whole human. I wasn't being nitpicky over things and I tried to be understanding. I liked spending time with him and talking with him. That is what kept me going when I found myself questioning and analyzing things. Neither of us are perfect humans but I was happy with the direction he was heading. It seems like there were positive things showing up for both of us during this experiment.

Thirty Day Bae: What were other people's reactions to you doing this?

Lindsay: Everyone I talked to about it was very interested in it. A lot of them hadn’t heard about it but wanted to experience it. Some thought it was crazy. Some tried to convince me not to do it.

Thirty Day Bae: How did things progress over the 30 days -- romantically or deeper friendship?

Lindsay: It was just a nice time being with him. We became really good friends I think. The romantic stuff didn't come for a few weeks and even then it wasn’t a big part of us. The timeline we were on wasn't something that I was used to, but I really appreciated it actually.

Thirty Day Bae: What did you learn about yourself and dating?

Lindsay: I learned that I am capable of dating someone for 30 days without going crazy or making them crazy. I wasn’t a huge psychopath. I am always worried I’ll run out of things to talk about with a dude and then we’ll spend a lot of time just staring at each other... luckily that didn’t happen. I enjoyed having mutual trust. I learned that I am fine on my own but I am also fine with someone. I learned that I don’t want to convince someone to be with me.  I learned that dating/committing to someone is a choice and there are a lot of good things that come from it even if it’s freaky.

Thirty Day Bae: What was the most challenging part of this experience?

Lindsay: During the beginning I didn’t know if we were doing things just because of our terms of the challenge or if it was because we actually wanted to. I think the conversations after the 30 days were challenging as we decided what we were going to do.

Thirty Day Bae: Are you ultimately happy with your decision to try it? Why or why not?

Lindsay: I am happy I did it. It was an overall great experience. I think it was nice getting to know the doobie brotha in a non-typical dating style. I learned a lot more about him in these 30 days than I would’ve in any other form of dating or hanging out. It felt good to focus my efforts on one dude. It was more fulfilling it seems.

Thirty Day Bae: What would you say to someone contemplating doing this? What advice would you give them?

Lindsay: I would tell them to do it for sure if both peeps were interested in doing it. It can be a very fun thing if you let it be. Having clear terms is important. I think honest communication is a big thing. Also, give them a backstage pass to how you are feeling and dealing with things in general and with the dating. Make the relationship about the other person. Have fun getting to know each other. Treat each other like precious souls. Good luck.

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